O'Driscoll plays down RWC 2015 swansong
December 4, 2012
Brian O'Driscoll has played down any chance of him turning out in the 2015 World Cup © Getty Images
Brian O'Driscoll has revealed that he is unlikely to be turning out for Ireland in the 2015 World Cup and was quick to single out the threat that Declan Kidney's charges will face if they progress through their pool.
Ireland will face France and Italy in their 2015 World Cup pool alongside an American and European representative. O'Driscoll has already played in four global gatherings for Ireland but concedes that the World Cup in three years time, where he will be 36 by the time it kicks off, is likely to be one too many.
"I'll be there in some capacity, but as a player I doubt that very much. It's far too far away to be contemplating playing," O'Driscoll said. "I think my World Cup ship has sailed, but I'll be there as Ireland's number one supporter."
And while Ireland will come up against teams they are familiar with in the form of France and Italy, O'Driscoll has sounded a note of caution to the side with the southern hemisphere heavy weights likely to be lying in weight in the knockout stages. "It could have been worse," O'Driscoll said. "You're never going to lick your lips at a World Cup draw because you'll always have good quality opposition.
"It's bit of a double-edged sword because when you avoid New Zealand, South Africa or Australia, inevitably when you get to the knockout stages you're likely face one of them sooner rather than later. It's an okay draw but I'd imagine France and Italy are quietly happy they've drawn us. They'll think they can beat us. It leaves it quite open because all three are capable of beating one another. It should make for interesting viewing."
Ireland have a dreadful record against France, winning just one of 13 meetings since 2003, a run that includes two defeats at the World Cup - in 2003 and 2007. It will be the pivotal match in the group and O'Driscoll admits Les Bleus have a psychological edge in the fixture.
"Early in my career we managed to get a few victories against France and then all of a sudden they became a very difficult team for us to beat," he said. "They play with a lot of confidence against us because of that record.
"When things are going well maybe they think they'll be able to see the game through and that's how things have panned out over the last while. But if we play well we can definitely beat them. You need to think you're capable of beating anyone on your day."
Ireland coach Declan Kidney insists Pool D has a familiar look to it and fears the lure of winning a World Cup on English soil will inspire France.
"We've been drawn in a group where everybody knows one another. It's going to make things really tight in 2015," he said. "We're obviously playing each other in the Six Nations three times before then. We also have a tour to the Americas in June when we'll be playing Canada twice and America once.
"And then we have World Cup history with Russia and Georgia, so there won't be too many surprises. We played France a couple of times in the World Cup and came second by a bit. They've always shown themselves to be an extremely good side who peak for that competition. I'm sure they'd like nothing better than to win the World Cup in England. We know we have a huge task ahead of us."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin
Last year's thrashing at the hands of Wales was not the first time England have fallen to their rivals. Scrum Sevens looks at whether they have bounced back the following year
With just two rounds left in the 2014 championship, the intensity cranks up a notch at Twickenham. Tom Hamilton previews the weekend's action
"I had a perfect record against England as did a few other Welshmen. England always seemed to bring the best out of us." John Taylor on the age-old rivalry